The majority of people living in the countryside of Vietnam rely on inefficient cookstoves for daily cooking. The exposure to smoke poses significant health risks, particularly for women and children. Considering that households spend more than two hours a day cooking, health hazards are ever so likely.
Ms. Vu Thi Nhan, a 57-year-old farmer living in Dai Thang commune, Phu Xuyen district, Hanoi, has been using a traditional iron bar stove for years. To meet the cooking needs of her household, she used to burn a large quantity of rice husk and wood. “I always used at least 6 kg of wood and more than 10 kg of rice husk per day for cooking. With an iron bar stove, cooking takes 60-90 minutes a day, including the preparation of food for animals and water heating”.
She adds: “Although iron bar stoves are very popular in the commune, they are not really cost-effective due to the high consumption of fuel and the low efficiency in the cooking process. It was frustrating not to be able to find an alternative to the iron bar stove. Fuel savings and convenient cooking options are urgently needed.” Furthermore, Ms. Vu, like many people in the area, used to pay little attention to the health risks associated with traditional cookstoves.
Fortunately, researchers, local and international NGOs, civil society and others have been working together to tackle these issues. Thanks to the Market Acceleration of Advanced Clean Cookstoves in the Greater Mekong Sub-region project, Ms. Vu and many people from her commune now have clean cookstoves that drastically reduce the smoke levels. Funded by Energising Development and Blue Moon Fund, and managed by SNV Vietnam. the project aims to increase access to and availability of advanced clean cookstoves for households, while increasing the capacity of local producers to distribute clean cookstoves in Vietnam.
After using a Tien Manh stove for one month, Ms. Vu is really satisfied with the time saving and fuel efficiency offered by her new stove. Research shows a 20% time reduction in cooking activities and 84% decrease in the use of the traditional iron bar stove – a major impact on livelihoods (SNV Stove Usage Monitoring System).
“I will probably still use the iron bar stove from time to time but eventually, I expect to fully switch to the Tien Manh stove. I will definitely buy a new stove again when this one wears out”, adds Ms. Vu.
Other initiatives such as events that raise awareness about energy savings and environmental protection, have also encouraged the community to switch to clean cookstoves. It is also hoped that Ms. Vu's story will spread so that the whole community will eventually enjoy a cleaner and healthier environment.
Watch the video below to learn more about how we're fighting the silent killer in the kitchen.